FCC to Launch Space Bureau

A satellite circling Earth
The FCC cited the growing role of satellite broadband in restructuring its International Bureau into the Space Bureau. (Image credit: artpartner-images via Getty Images)

Given, among other things, the rise of satellite-delivered broadband as a potential competitor to terrestrial service, the Federal Communications Commission is creating a new Space Bureau to deal with the growing flock of birds.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said Thursday (November 3) that the FCC’s International Bureau would be reconfigured as the Space Bureau plus a standalone Office of International Affairs. The goal is to “elevate” the significance of satellite programs and policy at the agency, Rosenworcel said.

Rosenworcel conceded that while the satellite industry is going gangbusters — 64,000 applications for new satellites have been made in the past two years alone — the FCC’s regulatory framework had not kept pace.

She pointed to new players and models — those include the Low Earth Orbit (LEOs) driving the satellite broadband industry and players like SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb.

“By separating satellite policy from the ‘International Bureau,’ the agency acknowledges the role of satellite communications in advancing domestic communications policy and achieving U.S. broadband goals,” Rosenworcel’s office said. ▪️

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.